Weekend Plans With Team IMPACT Exec Dir Seth Rosenzweig: Harvard-Yale Rivalry Game
SETH ROSENZWEIG took the reins of Team IMPACT back in August '16, overseeing the nonprofit that pairs children dealing with life-threatening and chronic illnesses with college athletic programs. This Saturday, Rosenzweig’s efforts will hit close to home, as the annual Harvard-Yale football game will feature two of the organization’s kids serving as honorary members of each team. For Rosenzweig, a Harvard grad, the game will serve as a meaningful reminder of the important work he and his team undertake each year, as well as a culmination of the two children’s own journey through Team IMPACT. Through the program, each has been able to join in on practices, game days, team meals and trips throughout Harvard and Yale’s football seasons. Rosenzweig spoke to THE DAILY about his game plan for Saturday, how his organization continues to evolve and how he spends family time.
SATURDAY KICKOFF: I was in DC earlier this week to meet with NCAA officials to talk about how we’re going to continue our partnership. Then I came back home to Massachusetts and spent time with my wife and kids. Friday night I’ll attend an event honoring Massachusetts Biotechnology Council President & CEO BOB COUGHLIN, who has been instrumental in our growth. When that concludes, I’ll head home and prepare for Saturday's game. It’s exciting not only because I went to Harvard, but also because both schools are incredibly supportive of our program. On Saturday we’ll have 10-year-old DANIEL GRAPSKI matched with Harvard, who has endured treatments stemming from a rare form of kidney cancer. He was drafted by the team last fall. On the other side, we’ll have 8-year-old DANTE CHIPPETTA matched with Yale. Dante has battled both cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment since birth. He has been with the Yale team since '14. They will serve as honorary ballboys and will be featured at halftime, among other recognitions. I’ll also spend time with officials on both teams throughout the game. I’m honored to have a role in anyway that I can. On a lighter note, I’ve got to pick Harvard for the win. They’ve been back and forth a little all year, and last season we suffered a tough loss to Yale, but I’ll stay loyal to my team and predict they’ll pull it out, even though we’re on the road.
THE GOOD STUFF: Impact was started six years ago under the essential premise of how do we improve the lives of children in pain with chronic illnesses. Then we asked, ‘What if we drafted these kids onto college athletic teams to be full-fledged members for two years.' Through the program they get a sense of belonging, a confidence boost, and they’re able to come out of the program and return to a more traditional social setting or have the tools to be successful in life no matter the occasion. What we honestly didn’t realize was the impact this would have on the college athletes and coaches themselves. It started with 17 kids in the first year, and now we’re over 1,300 matched with over 450 universities across the country. Each child interacts with his/her team at least once a week. They’re going to practices, team dinners, study hall and having the players visit them at the hospital. For the players and coaches it's a great practice in civic-mindedness, philanthropy and even career preparation for the athletes. What we've learned is that when you pair a child who’s been dealt an unfair hand with college athletes who display perseverance, something special happens, and Harvard and Yale have been partners almost since the beginning.
COVERING THE GLOBE: In my free time, I’m a big traveler. My most recent trip was to Rwanda on a fellowship to a youth village. I like to be adventurous, see different cultures and understand different lifestyles. I'd call myself a big sports guy, though my own kids are a little too young to really get into it quite yet. I’m also a big reader and try to work out as much as I can. Weekend getaway-wise, I like to spend time down in the Outer Banks with my family to recharge.